Understanding Radio Waves & Wireless Mic Frequencies

Understanding Radio Waves & Wireless Mic Frequencies

Wireless audio devices transmit audio across a wide range of radio frequencies. This spectrum is called the frequency band. If a particular frequency on the spectrum becomes crowded, interference can occur, creating serious issues for devices relied on in public safety, military, emergency response, and other critical sectors. For this reason, wireless audio devices are designed to operate within a specific frequency band that abides by a country’s laws.

What are Radio Waves?

Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can be used to send wireless or radio communications in the form of sound, data, position tracking, and more.  These waveforms move at near the speed of light within the Earth’s atmosphere, and make up just one of the seven spectrums of electromagnetic waveforms.

You might recognize the others: Microwaves, Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet, X-Ray, and Gamma Rays.

Radio waves vs sound waves

Since radios are often associated with producing sound, there is often confusion over whether or not radio waves are the same as or similar to sound waves. The two are in fact very different.

Sound waves are considered mechanical, meaning they must have a medium (e.g. air, water, etc…) to pass through, otherwise no sound will be produced. The vibrations detected in the medium are what we perceive as sound.

Radio waves, on the other hand, are electromagnetic and can even exist in a vacuum with no medium present. Instead of vibrating molecules like in sound waves, radio waves are created by an oscillating electrical field.

What are wireless mic frequencies?

Yamaha_RM-WDR_z_0002.pngRadio waves can be artificially created by use of a transmitter device and then received by a radio receiver, two elements commonly found in wireless microphone systems. These mics can be set to operate at a specific wireless mic frequency, changing the behavior of their transmitted radio waves and the space they compete in with other devices.

Wireless microphone systems are designed with a specific frequency range in mind, where it’s important not to interfere with other equipment operating in ranges specified by a country’s laws.

What is the best frequency for wireless microphones?

Different frequencies not only have legal implications, but can also deliver different levels of performance depending on the use case. For long distance communications, for example, lower frequencies in the 470 to 548MHz bands hold up the best in terms of distance and clarity.

When it comes to delivering crystal clear audio across a classroom or within a conference room, however, higher frequencies can deliver more dynamic and higher quality sound in shorter distances. Some wireless mics operate in the 2.4 MHz band which performs well in ideal environments, such as a recording studio. However, frequencies this high can meet interference from wi-fi signals and even simple obstructions such as objects or thin walls.

At Yamaha UC, we configure our wireless microphone systems around the DECT band in the 1.9 MHz range for ideal performance and minimal interference in environments such as office boardrooms, training spaces, and classrooms. This frequency band is not only viable in the U.S, but also works in countries like Japan, Australia, the UK, and more.

For reference, here is the frequency range across our line of wireless microphone offerings:

  • USA, Canada: 1920.0 MHz - 1930.0 MHz

  • Japan: 1893.5 MHz - 1906.1 MHz

  • EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, UK: 1880.0 MHz - 1900.0 MHz

Dial into the right frequency with Yamaha UC

Yamaha UC provides best-in-class wireless microphone solutions for a variety of workspaces including conference rooms, classrooms and lecture halls, and medical facilities. From handheld wireless mic kits to full tabletop solutions, you can depend on Yamaha UC to deliver crystal clear audio with minimal setup.

Contact us today to talk to a Yamaha UC expert for wireless microphone recommendations based on your needs.